Egypt demonstrators reject Morsi's calls

Mohamed Morsi’s calls for a national dialogue after clashes gets rejected y demonstrators.

Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi gives a press conference in Cairo on May 26, 2012. Picture: AFP

CAIRO - Demonstrators rejected a call from Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi for a national dialogue after deadly clashes around his palace, demanding the "downfall of the regime" - the chant that brought down Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi said in a televised speech late on Thursday that plans were on track for a referendum on a new constitution on 15 December despite clashes that killed seven people. He proposed a meeting on Saturday with political leaders, "revolutionary youth" and legal figures to discuss the way forward after that.

But a leading activist group rejected the offer, and fresh demonstrations were called for Friday.

The '6 April' movement, which played a prominent role in igniting the revolt against Mubarak, said on its Facebook page that Friday's protests would deliver a "red card" to Morsi.

Egypt has been plunged into turmoil since Morsi issued a decree on 22 November awarding himself wide powers and shielding his decisions from judicial review.

His Islamist supporters say the decree was necessary to prevent Mubarak-era judges from interfering with reforms. A constitution drawn up by a body dominated by Islamists is due to be put to a referendum next week.

The opposition has demanded that Morsi scrap his decree, postpone the referendum and redraft the constitution.

In his address, Morsi said: "I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday."

Several thousand opposition protesters near the palace waved their shoes in derision after his speech and shouted "Killer, killer" and "We won't go, he will go" - another of the slogans used against Mubarak in last year's revolt.

The Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled Morsi to victory in a June election, was set ablaze. Other offices of its political party were attacked.